The Brevity and Blessing of Life

The Brevity and Blessing of Life

I was recently asked to do a pencil drawing, a memoriam portrait for my neighbor Laura, whose boyfriend had just passed away several days ago. I had been to their home a few times, reading the Bible with them, and praying with them. Unfortunately, the man’s health was declining and he suddenly took a turn for the worse and was gone, at age 53.

It makes you realize how short life is. I’ve gotten to know quite a few of my neighbors and I’ve seen many of them pass away at younger ages than you’d like to see people go.

But when it’s time for someone to go, it’s time. Death is an appointment we all have to keep.

The Bible says “…it’s appointed for man once to die, and after this the judgment.” But we also have a great promise that Jesus Christ conquered death by suffering the penalty of sin–death–on the cross for our benefit. Then, He rose again to prove that the work was accomplished! All we have to do is trust in Him, what He did for us–taking the punishment of sin we deserve (death) and receive that benefit of eternal life. And the reason God sent His son to die for us is because He loves us!

Life is too short to avoid the risk of sounding a little preachy. If you’re reading this and don’t know Jesus, think about what I’m saying–what God is speaking to your heart. Take it in.

What sounds like bad news–the brevity of life or certain trials and difficulties–can become your greatest blessing.

Many blessings are hidden in things that look dismal, dark and unattractive. Diamonds look terrible as they’re drawn out of coal, but hidden in all that dark and dirty material is a gem waiting for the seeking person to find. Pearls are created through the irritation the clam experiences from sand within the shell. A forest fire leaves a wasteland behind, but it’s that very same scorched earth that is the perfect soil for new plants to grow in!

Sketch of Paul, 11 x 14, pencil on paper, by portrait artist Matt Philleo

Sketch of Paul, 11 x 14, pencil on paper, by portrait artist Matt Philleo

This pencil portrait sketch of my neighbor Paul took me about 2 1/2 hours to do, an 11 x 14. I used the side of the pencil lead for most of the dark areas, and wiped with a tissue to blend it in. I prayed as I drew the picture that God would use it to comfort my grieving neighbor.

When I handed the drawing off to Laura (the bereaved) earlier this week, her eyes just lit up with joy and she gave me a big hug. She came by our house a couple nights ago again to thank me and asked my wife and I to pray with her.

My wife had been listening to her and encouraging her while I was away at the studio. We are praying that the God of all comfort would touch this dear lady and make His love so real to her in her time of need. If God leads you to do so, please pray with us. Thank you!

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"I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands."

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"Inscribed," Pencil on Paper, by Matt Philleo

One day, when I was discouraged I read a verse in the Bible, in Isaiah, 49:15-16, where it says, "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands." This verse brought such encouragement, that I created this original work of art to share the incredible love of God with others, including you!


Get a free 8 x 10 copy of this drawing that you can use to print, share, or as wallpaper!

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